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Turn of the Screw (Talking Classics) Audio CD – Audiobook, 1 Oct 2012

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Fantom Films Limited (1 Oct. 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 1781960097
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781960097
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 12.5 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,567,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Much imitated ... but no one comes near the finesse of the master (The Times)

Timelessly unsettling (Guardian) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Henry James (1843-1916), American-born writer, gifted with talents in literature, psychology, and philosophy. James wrote 20 novels, 112 stories, 12 plays and a number of works of literary criticism. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 23 Jan. 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
One of the most seductive of all ghost stories, Turn of the Screw is not a tale for people inured to Halloween I and II or Tales from the Crypt. It is a sophisticated and subtle literary exercise in which the author creates a dense, suggestive, and highly ambiguous story, its suspense and horror generated primarily by what the author does NOT say and does not describe. Compelled to fill in the blanks from his/her own store of personal fears, the reader ultimately conjures up a more horrifying set of images and circumstances than anything an author could impose from without.
Written in 1898, this is superficially the tale of a governess who accepts the job of teaching two beautiful, young children whose uncle-guardian wants nothing to do with them. On a symbolic level, however, it is a study of the mores and prejudices of the times and, ultimately, of the nature of Evil. The governess fears that ghosts of the former governess Miss Jessel and her lover, valet Peter Quint, have corrupted the souls of little Flora and Miles and have won them to the side of Evil. The children deny any knowledge of ghosts, and, in fact, only the governess actually sees them. Were it not for the fact that the housekeeper, Mrs. Grose, can identify them from the governess's descriptions, one might be tempted to think that the governess is hallucinating.
Though the governess is certainly neurotic and repressed, this novel was published ten years before Freud, suggesting that the story should be taken at face value, as a suspenseful but enigmatic Victorian version of a Faustian struggle for the souls of these children. The ending, which comes as a shock to the reader, is a sign that such struggles should never be underestimated. As is always the case with James, the formal syntax, complex sentence structure, and elaborately constructed narrative are a pleasure to read for anyone who loves language, formality, and intricate psychological labyrinths. Mary whipple
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER on 27 Jun. 2008
Format: Paperback
Unlike some of the other reviewers here I still think this is the creepiest book I've ever read, and all the more terrifying for the fact that James never articulates what's going on - he simply leaves your imagination to float free and conjure up all your worse nightmares. Yes, he's never an easy read (though this is far more accessible than Wings of the Dove, The Golden Bowl etc) but I think his very stately, mannered sentences and diction actually add to the horror of the story. Don't read this if you're expecting Stephen King or The Exorcist - James expects his readers to make the effort to read properly. Someone called this (possibly James himself?)'the most poisonous little tale I could imagine' and I think that's a perfect description - when I re-read it, it was on the tube with bright lights and lots of people around as I couldn't face reading it at home alone!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Oliver Redfern on 18 May 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's been over a hundred years since Henry James' novella was published. I'm sure readers at the time were spooked by its tale of ghosts threatening the innocence of two children, and the attempts of a quasi-hysterical governess to save them. It was that period of the Victorian era when séances and ghosts were popular, when spiritists promised to bridge the road between the living and the dead. People enjoyed sitting around a fire and sharing ghost stories, specially during Christmas time.

But times have changed and this novella is now more interesting as a controversial piece of lit crit rather than a frightening ghost story. Did the ghosts in the story really exist? Or was it all part of the governess' imagination? You are never given the answers. One interesting question which resonates with today's world is what kind of "evil" was inflicted on the children. It's suggested that a deceased governess and her lover did "depraved" things to the children, only to later return as ghosts in order to continue their evil influence. But what kind of evil exactly?

If you enjoy puzzles and hard-to-read English writing, this novella is for you; if you are after an easy page-turner, you are better off looking elsewhere.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Depressaholic on 31 Dec. 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
‘TTOTS’ is a classic chilling tale from Henry James. It would not be fair to describe it as horror, because there is no gore, or as a ghost story, because it is far subtler than that. The story concerns a nanny looking after the children of a rich widower with whom she has fallen in love. Her desire to protect the children is tested when she begins to see two nefarious (and long-dead) former employees of the house, apparently threatening her charges. As the nanny’s sanity is called into question, we begin to wonder who represents the real danger in the house.
‘TTOTS’ is an excellent example of ambiguous writing. Even at the shocking conclusion, it is not clear if we have just read a ghost story or an example of psychological fiction. It is difficult to say too much without giving too much away about the story, but every event, or encounter with the ghostly figures, has two interpretations. It is very cleverly written, and all the more spooky because of it.
Having said all that, I am not a fan of James’ writing style. The only other book of his that I have read (‘The Ambassadors’) has tortuously constructed sentences that are painful to read. This is also true of ‘TTOTS’. Fortunately, the story of the title is easily gripping enough for this not to be a problem, but the rest of this collection is instantly forgettable because of it. Nevertheless, it is well-worth a read as one of the greatest spooky stories ever told.
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